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Teacher, Tracy Rumbaugh, has been teaching AP biology the longest in OPS

December 21, 2017

Tracy Rumbaugh, AP biology and honors biology teacher, is the currently the teacher who has taught AP Biology for the longest time in the Omaha Public Schools district. Even though she has only been a teacher at Central for five, and only taught AP biology for four, there are no other teachers who have been teaching the class for longer.

There are many reasons why students take AP biology. One of the main reasons students take the course is to gain college credit through either taking the AP test at the end of the year or signing up for dual enrollment through University of Nebraska-Omaha. Other students may take the class to build a college resume, explore biology-based career options, or to gain experience in a AP class, which will help them prepare for college.

One of Rumbaugh’s favorite parts of teaching AP biology is being able to have the same students in her class multiple times. As an honors biology teacher, she teaches many students their freshman and sophomore year, and then teaches them later in the AP course. Additionally, she worked at a middle school previous to her teaching at Central, meaning she has had some students in middle school, honors biology and AP biology classes. Rumbaugh said, “One of my favorite parts of teaching AP Biology and about teaching high school in general is having repeat students and having the opportunity to see kids in the building for four years, and to see students graduate and move on to their next step in life.”

Every year Rumbaugh has taught AP biology the way she has taught the class changes. This is due to the experience she has gained while teaching the class in previous years. She feels it is important to change the way she teaches the class in order to help her students learn more and better understand the concepts that are being taught. By trying new ideas and lessons each year she is learning how to teach the class better and what works better for different students.

Rumbaugh said, “Some things I have tried have not worked so each year I try to replace those things with something more engaging. I have been told by long time AP teachers that it takes 5 years to get the class where you want it and I feel like this is holding true for me. However, I also do not want and will not allow the class to become stagnant just because I’ve hit this 5-year milestone. I want it to always be changing.”

There are other struggles in teaching AP Bio that Rumbaugh faces. One of the main struggles that she has is time. Many of the students taking her class are also participating in clubs, sports, jobs, out of school activities and other extra circulars, so sometimes it can be difficult for students to dedicate the time to reading the book and studying chapters outside of class. This becomes a struggle because there is a lot of material in the AP biology book, and therefore without using out of class time it can be difficult to get through all of the material.

While teaching AP Biology, Rumbaugh has learned a lot. She believes that through teaching this course she has learned more about the importance of community while teaching a class, and that sometimes teaching is not all about instructing students on what they need to know in the lesson or for the test. Rumbaugh said, “I’ve learned that students may not remember everything you taught them, but they will remember how you made them feel. The AP curriculum is huge. It is a lot to take on for both the teacher and the student. I’ve learned from this class, more than any other that I have taught, the importance of community in education.”

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